Like shopping for a new car, the best spa for you is the one that fits both your budget and your needs. Some questions to consider are – how many people you want to fit into the spa, how often the spa will be used, the life span of the spa, and the operating costs. You should also research if the motor and pump performance will be sufficient, what is the quality of the structure, and does the spa have insulation and what type of insulation.
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Whether covering a standard rectangle or a more complicated freeform pool, all safety covers are made in a perpendicular grid with straps running across the length and width of the pool.
When installing a freeform safety cover, remember the grid and be sure to keep the straps straight and parallel all the way across the pool from anchor to anchor. Misaligned straps can cause wrinkles, and in some cases tears, in the cover.
A good way to keep the grid perpendicular is to visualize the freeform cover as a rectangle, rather than focusing on the perimeter of the cover (see photo below).
The answer is yes, many people do just that, but you can get in trouble if you don’t run your pump runs 24 hours a day. We would not recommend putting tablets in your skimmer if you operate your pool on a timer and you can also get in trouble if the power goes off.
The chlorine tablets are concentrated and they have a very low ph. When your pump is running, the water going through your skimmer is constantly eroding the tablet, adding chlorine to the water which quickly makes its way through your filter system and into your pool.
If the pump goes off, now that tablet is sitting in just a few gallons of water and the chlorine level rises and ph drops. Now you have a skimmer full of highly chlorinated/acidic water and when it sloshes out of the skimmer and back into the pool with the regular movement of the water in your pool, that caustic water runs right down the face of the wall and can burn your liner as shown in the photos below. This will damage and permanently discolor your liner. Another thing to consider is whether or not you’re heating the pool. The highly-chlorinated water can lead to copper corrosion on the heater unit.
What are the effects of salt water chlorine generation systems on vinyl pool liners and swimming pools?
What are the effects of salt water chlorine generation systems on vinyl pool liners and swimming pools?
The growing use of pool chlorination by salt water chlorine generation systems has added some serious implications for in-ground pool liners, steel walls and equipment that need to be considered.
Let’s start by making the following statement: Salt water in the swimming pool, maintained at the recommended concentration and PH, does not constitute any potential for either equipment corrosion or liner deterioration.
However several other important factors need to be considered:
- The splash out areas around the pool, where deck, coping and equipment are wetted by salt water, will go through a cycle of wetting and drying, creating much higher concentrations of salt and salt residue, which is much more corrosive and will etch decking and corrode exposed aluminum and metal fittings and deck anchors. It is recommended that after each use, the areas are flushed with non-saline water.
- High levels of chlorine will damage liners and equipment much the same way as high salt concentrations would speed up the corrosion of metal components. Because chlorine is continually generated in a salt system, unless monitored, it is very easy to have chlorine concentrations well above the recommended levels which will have adverse effects on pool liners.
- The prolonged use of solar covers or will allow the chlorine levels to build up to higher than normal levels as the chlorine cannot dissipate or gas off into the air. Auto-covers kept closed for long periods of time create the same build up of chlorine which can damage the cover and the uncoated aluminum components. This can be more drastic because the condensation that will occur under the cover will coat all areas under the cover and lead to a buildup of salt levels as well.
- The continual generation of chlorine does not have the same build up of chloramines as normal chlorination. The chloramine is what provides the characteristic chlorine smell and consequently, in salt pools this lack of chlorine smell may lead users to assume the chlorine levels are at an acceptable level and not monitor the water chemistry as often as necessary.
- Salt Systems are often sold as low maintenance products and the users are not educated properly. The assumption that these systems require less maintenance applies only to the addition of chemicals. The water testing and monitoring frequency is the same as for conventional pools and perhaps for many of the reasons mentioned above, even more attention is required as high concentrations of chlorine over even short time duration can and will alter the vinyl and affect other metal pool components. High chlorine concentrations can also cause a swing with the levels of other stable water components such as PH and total alkalinity. Both are instrumental in balanced water which is critical for the longevity of pool liners and components.
*The information provided comes from a manufacturer of pool components.
One of the great benefits for those of you who winterize your pools with a safety cover is that it keeps your pool surface out of the sun and chlorine-free for perhaps six months of the year. A pool is a big investment, and you want it to last as long as it can. Properly winterizing and using a safety cover can greatly extend the life of your pool.
A Safety Cover also keeps your swimming pool free of the debris that would otherwise create a mess in an uncovered pool. Protecting your pool from debris will also save you money on costly seasonal maintenance such as re-painting and re-plastering, and eliminate the need for messy spring clean-ups.
Below is a breakdown of our safety cover materials. You can also click here for more information on safety covers.
SAFETY COVER SELECTION CHART
Almost every pool liner warranty in the industry covers the welded seams only and nothing else. The seams, of course, are very important but if they hold for a week, they will most likely hold for seven years. If there is going to be a problem that is covered by your warranty, it will be evident soon after the liner is installed. It is very rare for a seam to fail after the first six months.
What is not covered are all the other things that may happen to your liner such as material defects, print fading, irregularities in printing, damage from pool chemicals, wind and ice damage, rips, tears or holes that can be snagged or punched in the liner.
Even if you do have a legitimate split seam warranty issue, your warranty does not cover installation, freight or the cost of water and chemicals.
Like Dad always said, warranties are designed to limit the manufacturer’s liability, not to benefit the consumer. Pool liner warranties are not any different.
Oftentimes people ask us which liner material is “better:” the 20 mil or the 27 mil?
In reality, there is no “better” liner. The most important choice is not the thickness of the material, but the liner pattern that you choose. Liners fail for two reasons. The ink fades or the material dry rots above the waterline. Thicker material solves neither of these problems.
Choose the vinyl liner pattern that you like the best. If it comes in 27 mil at no extra charge, take it, but don’t pay extra for it. You shouldn’t pass on your first pattern choice just to get the thicker material. In our opinion, there is no meaningful advantage to thicker material. There is no difference in wear, durability, longevity or warranty. You are going to be looking at that pattern in your backyard for at least the next seven years. Ultimately, the pattern you choose should outweigh the thickness of your liner material. It is what you think looks the best that matters.
View all of our available 27 mil and 20 mil patterns here.
If you have black or grey cloud-like stains on the floor of your in-ground vinyl liner, they are most likely caused by bacteria that is living in the ground under your pool. Bacteria sometimes show up years after a pool has been installed. We think the bacteria can be washed into your pool area by flooding rains or when a septic tank overflows.
There is little proven research on this topic but we understand the bacteria actually gets sunlight through the water, eats on some food source in the ground and then secretes a dye-like material that migrates through the vinyl and shows up as a stain on the floor of your pool. Often these spots appear grey, greyish green or light black in color. Once the spots appear, the damage to your liner is done and it’s irreversible. Algaecides and other chemicals used in the pool will have no effect on these stains since they can’t get to the source of the problem which is the bacteria in the soil.
So you live with stains as long as you can and then, when it’s time to change your liner, it’s also time to try and get rid of the bacteria to avoid a repeat problem with staining. No one knows precisely how to solve this problem but there are four methods that we understand may be effective. You may want to choose one or even try all four.
- The simplest way to attempt to kill the bacteria is to have your contractor spray the floor of the pool with liquid chlorine before installing your new liner. Chlorine bleach works fine and they will mist the floor of the pool using a garden sprayer three or four times.
- A second possible solution is to change the pH of the soil under and around the pool. This is done with a chemical called Copperas Iron Sulfate (FeSO4) which is available at tree nurseries or agricultural supply houses. The chemical is sprinkled on the ground around the pool and on the floor of the pool and then the ground is saturated with water for two to three days. The idea is to get the powder deep into the ground so it can change the pH of the soil and kill the source of the bacteria.
- Since bacteria need sunlight to grow, a third option is to eliminate the light source by putting a black sheet of plastic under the liner. This is not advisable if your yard has a high water table as rising water may float the liner and ball up the plastic underneath causing an even bigger problem than the stain.
- Finally, some companies are selling a roll-on epoxy-like stain barrier paint to cover the floor and walls of your pool. It’s like a liquid plastic that sets up hard to form a membrane intended to block out the light and prevent stains from getting to your liner. It is the most expensive of the options but some people claim it really works.
Discuss these options with your local pool professional and depend on them to suggest which method they have tried and found to be most effective.
If you own a concrete in-ground pool and are wondering if it is possible to install a vinyl liner in your pool, the answer is yes, but we don’t suggest it.
Installing a vinyl liner is perhaps the most inexpensive way to fix a leaking concrete in-ground pool, but converting a concrete pool into a liner type pool should be the last resort. We encourage you to repair your concrete pool if you can.
If you decide you must convert your pool, it requires accurately measuring the pool for a liner, installing a bead receiver around the perimeter and then converting the skimmer and other fittings to the liner type that have faceplates and gaskets.
The difficulty of the conversion depends on the internal shape of the pool, whether the contours in the floor are rounded or sharp, and if you have internal steps or other obstacles.
Every job is different so depend on your local pool contractor to advise if your particular installation is a good candidate for a conversion.
It is always a good idea to winterize your pool in order to protect your investment. However, if you own a spa, you might like to use it during the winter months. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your spa during the winter season.
- Drain, clean, and refill before it gets too cold. By cleaning your spa before the harshest weather arrives, you can avoid having to clean again until you are ready to re-open the pool in the spring.
- Maintain your temperature. “Boosting” the temperature is costly. It is more efficient to maintain your desired temperature than repeatedly raising and lowering the temperature with each use.
- Cover the spa. Make sure your spa cover is in good shape and holding heat when the spa is not in use. Consider using a solar blanket on the water’s surface to further prevent heat loss.
- Bundle up! Consider wearing a hat when it is cold or snowing to keep your exposed head warm outside the spa.
Click here to learn more about adding a Highland Spa to your backyard oasis!